Connections 04/19/09

For week of April 19, 2009
Issue 248

The Men’s Ministry newsletter of Path Of Life Ministries.
Our mission is to lead men to Jesus Christ and provide opportunity for Christian men to grow in their faith and minister to others.

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“I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you….that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, [and] that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:1,3-4

“It’s an awesome responsibility to own a Bible.” Unknown Author

A new nationwide survey of adults’ spiritual beliefs, conducted by The Barna Group, suggests that Americans who consider themselves to be Christian have a diverse set of beliefs – but many of those beliefs are contradictory or, at least, inconsistent. The survey explored beliefs about spiritual beings, the influence of faith on their life, views of the Bible, and reactions to faiths other than their own.

The Barna survey asked questions about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Satan, and demons. All 1,871 self-described Christians were asked about their perception of God. In total, three-quarters (78%) said he is the “all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe who rules the world today.” The remaining one-quarter chose other descriptions of God – depictions that are not consistent with biblical teaching (e.g., everyone is god, god refers to the realization of human potential, etc.).
For the other survey items a four-point opinion scale was used to measure people’s reactions to statements about each spiritual entity.

Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan…. Read this in full at

Moody Bible Institute introduced Dr. Paul Nyquist as the school’s ninth president to students and staff during a chapel service April 15. The announcement comes after the Board of Trustees conducted a a nine-month search for a new head to the Chicago-based Institute.

Michael J. Easley submitted his resignation last May citing ongoing back problems, which he felt impeded his duties as president. After nearly four years of service at Moody, Easley ended his role as President Emeritus at Moody Bible Institute on Jan. 1 and joined the pastoral teaching team at Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, Tenn.

Nyquist, 55, comes to Moody after serving as president and CEO of Avant Ministries, an international mission agency based in Kansas City. He also brings 19 years of experience as a senior pastor of First Federated Church in Des Moines, Iowa, and Evangelical Bible Church in Omaha, Neb…. Read this in full at

Also see

The National Day of Prayer Task Force ( has launched the Freedom Challenge to rekindle patriotism and passion for our Christian heritage. The goal is to effectively engage and equip students and young adults in the pursuit of God, challenging them to be active in community transformation.

To kick off this ministry movement, the National Day of Prayer Task Force and, the worlds’ largest online Christian social network, have joined forces to create the Freedom Video Contest. Millions around the country are being challenged to submit videos that emphasize their freedom to Praise, Proclaim and Pray. A panel of judges, including Michael W. Smith, Shirley Dobson, Beth Moore, Ryan Dobson and Hollywood Producer Karen Covell, will select the winning video on April 24.

“The National Day of Prayer (May 7) serves as a powerful reminder of prayer in our daily lives, not just one day, but every single day of the year. They are sponsoring the Freedom Video Contest to give Americans the opportunity to express what Freedom means to the,” said Michael W. Smith, Grammy Award-Winning Recording Artist…. More information at

COME TO ME with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed. A close walk with Me is a life of continual newness. Do not cling to old ways as you step into a new year. Instead, seek My Face with an open mind, knowing that your journey with Me involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind. As you focus your thoughts on Me, be aware that I am fully attentive to you. I see you with a steady eye, because My attention span is infinite. I know and understand you completely; My thoughts embrace you in everlasting Love. I also know the plans I have for you: plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Give yourself fully to this adventure of increasing attentiveness to My Presence.
(excerpted from Jesus is Calling by Sarah Young)

An evangelical Chinese billionaire and his two billionaire brothers are behind a massive project of building the world’s first biblically proportioned Noah’s ark.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Kwok brothers, heirs to Hong Kong’s largest real estate developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties, has built the 450-foot-long ark/luxury hotel complete with 67 pairs of fiberglass animals to draw visitors from beyond the city’s limit.

Middle brother Thomas Kwok, an evangelical Christian, is the main champion of the project that has been in discussion for 17 years. The ark is inspired by his Christian faith, but will not be promoted in an overtly religious manner.

Instead, the message being promoted is that the financial storm will soon be over and new life, represented by the animals emerging from the ark, will soon be opened up…. Read this in full at

The students from Cedar View Christian Academy in eastern Tennessee had barely a moment to savor their state championship win over a tough Memphis-area competitor when their coach gave them a stern directive.

“Nationals are not like anything you’ve experienced,” Helen Strickland said, making eye contact with each of her seven exhausted but elated players. “It’s a whole different ballgame. You need to work harder than ever before.”

And with that, the newly crowned state Bible Quiz champs were sent home to drill for the April 14-16 National Bible Quizzing Championship at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC where hundreds of Christian students competed for the top trophy in the American Association of Christian Schools annual contest.

Bible quizzing is a fiercely competitive team sport combining two separate and distinct skills: an encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible and lightning-fast reflexes.

The competitions originated in the 1950s, modeled after then-popular TV game shows like Jeopardy and College Bowl, as evangelical youth programs experimented with ways to engage a new generation in the Word of God…. Read this in full at

Also see the National Bible Bee competition starting Sept. 12

Three months of summer are just around the corner, and people across America will dive into a good book to beat the summer heat. Former agnostic Ted Cooper and leading publisher Zondervan are challenging Americans to not only dive into “a” good book, but to dive into THE Good Book, to read the Bible from cover to cover before summer ends as part of The Bible in 90 Days Summer Reading Challenge.

According to a study by Barna Research, 72% of Americans who have never read the entire Bible say they want to do so during their lifetime. Even among Christians and regular Bible readers, the vast majority have never read the entire Bible. Developed by Ted Cooper, The Bible in 90 Days helps to make what seems a monumental task more manageable by segmenting the book into 12-page sections. Weekly group meetings and companion resources provide vital accountability, fellowship and guidance.

The Bible in 90 Days Summer Reading Challenge will run June 1 – August 29, 2009. Churches, small groups, Bible studies and other individuals interested in taking the challenge can sign up at The program is designed for each reader to start reading on the same day, June 1, follow the daily reading plan and come together as a group once a week to discuss the week’s reading, ask questions, share insights and give and receive encouragement…. Read this in full at

by Tod Linafelt
It is hard to deny that in many respects the Bible is the most unliterary work of literature that we have. Saint Augustine, already in the late fourth century AD, confessed that biblical style exhibits “the lowest of language” and had seemed to him, before his conversion, “unworthy of comparison with the dignity of Cicero.” It is easy to see what he means. Biblical narrative especially (things are different with biblical poetry) tends to work with a very limited vocabulary and consistently avoids metaphors and other sorts of figurative language, evincing a drastically stripped-down manner of storytelling that can seem the very antithesis of style.

For Augustine, as for so many religious readers after him, the Bible’s theological truths and ethical teachings won out over its literary art or lack thereof. Recent years, however, have seen great advances in our understanding of the particular literary — as distinct from religious — resources of biblical narrative and biblical poetry…. Read this in full at

According to Gallup Poll trends on church attendance among American Christians, weekly attendance among Protestants has been fairly steady over the past six decades, averaging 42% in 1955 versus 45% in the middle of the current decade. However, attendance among Roman Catholics dropped from 75% to 45% over the same period…. Read this in full at

New photographs released by NASA have captured images of a vast stellar formation resembling a human hand reaching across space. The image, taken by NASA’s space-based Chandra Observatory telescope, shows an X-ray nebula 150 light years across. It shows what appear to be ghostly blue fingers — thumb and pinky clearly discernible from index, ring and middle digits — reaching into a sparkling cloud of fiery red…. Read this in full at

Also see stunning photo at

Harkens to Ecclesiastes 2:24 – “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?”

Secularism is a defining characteristic of the “Modern” world — so why is there such an increase in religious belief? With two major religions having just celebrated holidays, Public Radio International’s “To the Point” looks at faith in America and other parts of the world.

Ever since the Enlightenment, deep thinkers have claimed that modernity would drive out religion, probably by the end of the 20th Century. But since the 1970s, that trend has gone into reverse.

“Newsweek” magazine’s cover announces “The Decline and Fall of Christian America,” while a recent book is entitled God Is Back. The contrast illustrates the worldwide tension between secularism in modern political life and the growing prevalence of religious belief.

Free-market thinking has some people shopping between denominations. Some traditionalists threatened by the secular world go to extremes. Do religions compete for believers? Which one is likely to win? Why is Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda such a “Modern” phenomenon? …. Listen to this interview at

In his classic text Leading Change, John Kotter offers insights into the mechanics of change. In particular, he explores the following eight fundamental qualities of successful change leadership.

1. Establish a sense of urgency. Wise leaders realize people have an aversion to change. Unless prodded to make adjustments, most people won’t budge from business as usual. Since leaders are likely the first ones to sense the need for change, they must convey a sense of urgency by convincingly identifying the threats of staying the same.

2. Gather a guiding coalition. Before making the case for change to the entire organization, a leader should persuade fellow influencers of its necessity. In every company, a small group of stakeholders lays claim to a majority of the influence. Unless a change agent rallies these key decision-makers to his side, he will have difficulty garnering enough momentum to shift the organization.

3. Create vision. Before launching a movement for change, it’s essential to formulate a compelling vision to support it. The vision should clearly spell out the rationale for making a change, and it should paint a picture of the preferred future that will arise as a result. The vision should be refined and simplified until it can be shared in five minutes or less.

4. Communicate vision. Human emotions tend to be drawn toward the discomfort and inconveniences of change. For this reason, it’s critical to make every effort to communicate the value of change. Leaders too readily fear repeating themselves when they should be more afraid of their people misinterpreting the vision or losing sight of it.

5. Empower others to act on the vision. First and foremost, build margin for change. People’s responsibilities continue in addition to their involvement in major change initiatives. Give them space to internalize the change and readjust their focus. Changing is a difficult endeavor. Be sure ample resources, meetings and man-hours are being devoted to make it happen.

6. Plan for and create short-term wins. Often the scale of a needed change can be overwhelming. Whittle it down into bite-sized bits, and be sure to celebrate every milestone accomplished. Build upon small, short-term victories to infuse the team with momentum so they can carry out the full extent of the desired changes.

7. Consolidate improvements to extend change. At first, changes are fragile. They need nourishment and protection in order to take root in the organization. Be vigilant of hard-fought changes, and recognize that many of them will take years to be fully ingrained in the organization.

8. Institutionalize new approaches. The best leaders know change is not a once-in-a-while proposition. The process of change is ongoing. When leaders manage change effectively, they gain respect and earn the right to craft a culture where change is a regular, even welcome, aspect of the organization.

(Adapted from “How to Lead Change,” by John Kotter, Leadership Wired, Issue 1, 9/08; via Church Leaders Intelligence Report,

“If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge. Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry- get over it quickly; for when you are angry you give a mighty foothold to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27 (The Living Bible)

“No man can break any of the Ten Commandments. He can only break himself against them.” Gilbert Keith Chesterton

More teenagers in Canada identify themselves as Muslim than with the Anglican, Baptist and United churches combined, according to a recent survey.

Project Kids Canada, which has tracked thousands of youth in an ongoing survey since 1984, will publish its findings in a book to be released in April. The survey polled more than 5,500 teenagers, notes Project Kids director and sociologist Reginald Bibby of the University of Lethbridge.

Bibby dubs the current generation of teenagers “The Emerging Millennials” in his book of the same name.

The upswing in Islam — plus three other major non-Western religions — is largely due to immigration, said Bibby…. Read this in full at

ABC’s “This Week” began Sunday with this announcement from a slightly miffed George Stephanopoulos: “For those of you tuning in this morning expecting to hear from Pastor Rick Warren, we were too. But the pastor’s representatives canceled moments before the scheduled interview, saying that Mr. Warren is sick from exhaustion.”

The interview had promised some fireworks, given Warren’s recent conflicting statements about the extent to which he campaigned for the passage of Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that banned gay marriage in the state. Now, I don’t want to let the fact that I missed Easter services for the first time in my life to catch and cover the never-was-interview (note to self: buy in-laws DVR) color my opinion about whether Pastor Rick was telling the truth about his exhaustion. But I do think it’s valid to examine why he might not have been completely psyched about going through with an appearance on “This Week.”

For a man who is arguably the most famous religious leader in the world after the Pope, Warren is surprisingly sloppy when it comes to speaking in public. He acknowledged as much during an April 6 appearance on “Larry King Live,” saying that “Everybody should have 10 percent grace when they say public statements.” But Warren needs more like 50 or 60 percent grace…. Read this in full at

Also see

by Francis Beckwith
This morning I was greeted by a headline that the adult movie star, Marilyn Chambers (56), was found dead on Easter Sunday. Her obituary was written as if she had actually accomplished something. We live in an age in which we know precisely what recycle bin our newsprint and soda bottles belong. But we have no idea what a human being is, what it’s supposed to do, or who or what it is permissible to sleep with. So, this is the lesson of our time: the “good” man is the one who treats his garbage with greater care than his own soul…. Read this in full at

by Marv Knox
Parents must take the lead in guiding children to love and learn the Bible, but the church should help, according to specialists in children’s ministry.

The process begins at birth, directing children toward God long before they even know about the Bible, explained Teri Shipley, family minister at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Lee’s Summit, Mo.

“I’m a big believer in starting a child’s spiritual development from the moment the child is born,” Shipley said. “When we’re rocking babies …, we tell them: ‘God made you special. … God gave you fingers and toes.’

“As a child gets older, we can begin to talk about themes: ‘God loves us. God created us. We are to love one another.’ The goal is to get children to understand God loves them.”

Such comprehension of God’s love forms a foundation for receptivity to knowing the Bible — God’s story, she said. Parents and children’s Sunday school teachers are partners in helping children know and love that story, added Diane Smith, children’s ministry strategist for the Virginia Baptist Mission Board…. Read this in full at

Tim Barrett says it’s a challenge to raise awareness about the architectural
magnificence of Cleveland’s greatest Roman Catholic churches.

Tucked among city neighborhoods, the churches aren’t as visible as celebrated local landmarks such as the Terminal Tower or Severance Hall.

But when Barrett, a free-lance architectural historian, brings a tour group inside a church such as St. Colman on the city’s West Side, the building speaks for itself.

“If you’re not moved by it, I’m sorry, you better check into a hospital,” he says.

With soaring twin bell towers and a limestone facade framed by massive Corinthian columns, St. Colman towers over modest, wood-frame houses in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood like a Baroque cathedral transplanted from Rome…. Read this in full at

1. Go to a second-hand store and buy a pair of men’s used size 14-16 work boots.
2. Place them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns & Ammo Magazine.
3. Put a few giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazines.
4. Leave a note on your door that reads:
Hey Bubba,
Me, Big Jim, Duke and Slim went for more ammunition. Back in an hour. Don’t mess with the pit bulls, they attacked the mailman this morning and messed him up real bad. I don’t think Killer took part in it but it was hard to tell from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four of ’em in the house. Better wait outside.

Using social networking sites or a new media endeavor such as blogging can be especially useful for workers looking to reshape their career into a new kind of profile. Clearly the recession — which has cost the American economy more than five million jobs, including an estimated 1.5 million in the white collar sector — has placed a new premium on the art of networking among workers who see their jobs threatened. As The New York Times recently reported, interest in traditional face-to-face networking groups among executives — even those still collecting a paycheck — has soared in recent months.

While not dismissing the value of more traditional networking, many experts in the art of self-marketing agree that the rapid rise over the last five years of Internet-based social networking sites is a game-changer. Such sites allow like-minded people to forge connections, not just at lunch, but across the country or even overseas, leading to unprecedented opportunities for ambitious people to expand their list of contacts, generate business leads or even develop a new career…. Read this in full at

Chinese males under the age of 20 outnumbered females of that same age range by more than 32 million in 2005, due in large part to the government’s one-child policy and its citizens’ use of sex-selection abortion and even abandonment, according to a new study in the British Medical Journal.

The study of 4.7 million people under the age of 20 in China covered every county in the country. It also found that in 2005 there were 1.1 million more baby boys born than baby girls. The study was published April 9. “Sex selective abortion accounts for almost all the excess males,” the study says.

Technically, China has a policy prohibiting sex-selective abortions, although the policy is largely ignored. China’s government instituted its one-child policy in the late 1970s in an effort to slow the birth rate of the world’s most populous country. Penalties for violations of the policy have included fines, arrests and the destruction of homes, as well as forced abortion and sterilization. Infanticide, especially of females, also has been reported.
tudy: China’s One-child policy has led to wide gender gap…. Read this in full at

With nationwide parliamentary elections in India continuing through May 16, persecuted Christians desperately need our prayers.

On March 2, the same day that the government of India announced the dates of the elections, Christian denominations from across India presented a joint memorandum demanding that political parties guarantee safety for religious minorities, ensure their participation in the elections, defend freedom of religion and bring to justice those who discriminate against Christian minorities.

With the start of elections, including April 23 in the state of Orissa where violence against Christians has increased dramatically over the past eight months, Open Doors USA has launched a prayer campaign for India. To access prayer resources and requests, go to

“If we knew as much about heaven as God does, we would clap our hands every time a Christian dies.” George MacDonald

“You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

“There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as praying for him.” William Law


Use the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.

I am agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake you!

Marital harmony
Family unity
Children saved
Faithful pastor
Spirit-filled church
Real friendships
Relatives redeemed
Educational benefits
Recreational time
Fulfilling career
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will

Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Estates & inheritances
Investment increase
Rebates & returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Money to be found
Bills decrease while blessings increase

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God” (Deut. 28:2).

[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you’d like the church guys to pray for your safety and spiritual effectiveness. I’ll add your name to the list for the time you’ll be away.]

Are you looking for something or do you have something to sell? Let me know and I’ll put it in this newsletter.

Book your next vacation with us!

Books, Music & More!

Get your domain name here!

Let me show you how to earn money as you travel!
It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

Space is indeed HUGE!

Universal News Reels

Their Circular Life (24-hour stretches in the life of 5 Italian locations)

All links to websites are provided as a service, and do not imply endorsement by our church.

(BTW: whenever the URLs in this newsletter are too long to turn into links on your e-mail program, just copy the entire URL (two lines or more) and paste it into a temporary email message. Then delete the return in the middle of it and copy it again. Then paste it into your web browser and hit enter.)

When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
Min. Frank Coleman, Editor

Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!


CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!

===== /\ =====

The CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to interact with other men on our journey of faith in Christ together. Large group, small group, and one-to-one events encourage relationship building and spiritual strengthening that result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ.
Contact Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program.

Path Of Life Ministries is located at 6459 S. Campbell Ave. Chicago, IL 60629.
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